Perhaps one of the most recognizable media figures of the 20th century, Oprah Winfrey is a TV personality, actress, philanthropist, publisher, and producer who has definitely earned her title as the “Queen of All Media.”
Winfrey was born into poverty in Mississippi. As a teenager, she was sent to live with her father in Tennessee, where she began her TV and radio career while still in high school. By age 19, she was co-anchor of the local evening news. In 1976, Winfrey moved to Baltimore to host the talk show People Are Talking. After eight years, she was recruited to host A.M. Chicago, where she promptly clobbered Phil Donahue in the ratings.
In 1985, Winfrey played Sofia in The Color Purple and was nominated for an Academy Award. A year later, The Oprah Winfrey Show premiered – a TV institution that remained on the air for the next 25 years. In 1999, Winfrey co-founded Oxygen Media, and after her contract with ABC ended in 2011 she started The Oprah Winfrey Network. Winfrey’s Angel Network has raised over $50 million dollars for charity. She’s also an activist for children’s rights, and proposed the bill that created a nationwide database of convicted child abusers in the United States. Winfrey was awarded the first Bob Hope Humanitarian Award in 2002, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013.
In an issue of O, the Oprah Magazine, Winfrey said, “I know for sure that in every challenging experience there’s an opportunity to grow, enhance your life, or learn something invaluable about yourself. Every challenge can make you stronger if you allow it.”